If you squint at it and adjust our eyes just so, White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn could be the Mets’ hand-picked choice to be their new general manager.
Hahn goes under the interview microscope on Tuesday, meeting with the team’s chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and acting general manager John Ricco, among other team executives. The GM spot was left vacant after Omar Minaya was fired at the end of the season.
There are a couple of things Hahn has going for him that set him apart from the other candidates. No. 1, Hahn is a Michigan graduate just like Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon. No. 2 -- and this one is more revealing -- is that one of the stated interests in a new Mets GM is an assistant that is viewed as an up-and-comer.
Of the known candidates, Hahn is the only one that fits that criteria to the letter.
Allard Baird, the Red Sox’s scouting director and former Royals GM, was interviewed Monday. Hahn goes Tuesday, of course. Josh Byrnes, the Diamondbacks’ former general manager interviews Wednesday. At the end of the week, the candidates are Sandy Alderson, the former A’s GM and San Diego president who is currently working for Major League Baseball, and Dodgers assistant GM Logan White.
Only White comes close to matching Hahn as an assistant who is an up-and-comer. But while Hahn is the right-hand man to White Sox GM Kenny Williams with an emphasis on negotiating major-league contracts, White has been head of the Dodgers’ amateur scouting department since 2002.
It’s that experience in contract negotiation that would serve the Mets well. The new Mets GM is set to inherit a payroll over $130 million. Under Minaya, the team added a number of big-money players but the former GM really stumbled with mid-level contracts, giving four years and $25 million to Luis Castillo and three years and $36 million to Oliver Perez.
The Mets would have liked to add Roy Oswalt at the trade deadline but the division rival Phillies did instead. Why? More payroll flexibility, for one.
So if the Mets are looking for an up-and-coming money man, who has done essentially everything a GM is required to do and can talk Wolverines football with the team’s principal owner, well then perhaps the job really is Hahn’s to lose.